Anthony Smith: I want the fight with Thiago Santos

Anthony Smith is focused on UFC on ESPN+ 29’s headliner with Glover Teixeira, but he can’t deny that a rematch with Thiago Santos is very important for him.

Smith wants to build toward another title shot versus Jon Jones.

“When I got cut from the UFC back in 2013 my first fight outside of the UFC was Josh Neer,” Smith told reporters during virtual media day. “It was a catchweight of 175 in the main event of BFC in Ohio. Josh Neer finished me in the fourth round. I changed a whole lot of things (after). I focused on getting better, and I change my mindset. I won eight in a row to get back to the UFC, and on the eighth fight I finished Josh Neer in under a minute (in the rematch).”

“That’s how my brain works. I’ll come back to that. I had the fight, and it went the way it went with Thiago, but I know that I’m better than that, and I know that I can beat him. I know that’s what the fans want to see. I’ll circle back to that. After that fight I changed a lot of things, and I got better, and I focused on a lot, and I changed my mindset, and we’ll circle back to that, and it’ll be my next Josh Neer moment.”

Given that Smith and Santos are two of the top-ranked contenders at light heavyweight, the possibility of a rematch seems strong.

“I guess to everyone else Thiago is the two-headed, fire-breathing dragon, but Thiago is like my mirror kind of,” Smith said. “I keep that tweet there because that was one of the lowest moments of my career. I’m better than that. There’s circumstances and sometimes things just don’t go your way. It just doesn’t. The cards fall in the other direction. But that’s absolutely a fight that I want, and that’s absolutely a fight that I don’t think anyone else is asking for.”

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